The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews
Belles of London #1
Published: January 11, 2022 – Berkley
Review copy from the publisher and NetGalley
Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she’s worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she’ll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London’s attention she’ll need a habit-maker who’s not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.
Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row’s infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.
But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts? (publisher)
One year after her older sister’s season ended in scandal Evelyn is in London to save her family’s reputation and insure that her younger sisters will eventually stand a chance of making suitable matches. Evelyn meets a gifted tailor, Ahmad, who sews the most amazing riding habits as well as gorgeous gowns. As they get to know each other a friendship grows to stronger feelings that will pose challenges, to be sure. This HR addresses differences in race, culture and class. I was drawn into the story by the slow burn romance that Mimi Matthews developed between the main characters. I loved revisiting characters from a previous novel by Matthews (A Modest Independence). It was lovely to see Ahmad take center stage. Recommended to fans of the HR genre. I look forward to the next book in the series due out in October 2022.
Note: I also purchased the audiobook which I recommend. The narrators did a superb job and bumped my rating up!
4.5 stars rounded up